Hopefully, where ever you are the weather has been as beautiful and uplifting as the gorgeous spring weather we’ve been experiencing here in the D.C. area. The breakthrough of sunny skies, gentle winds and comfortable warmth has been a refreshing detour from the harsh winter we experienced this year. Now with all the snow melted and days warm enough to leave the jacket at home and breakout the sandals, it’s time to ease up on soups  and stews , and move on to lighter and refreshing dishes.
The first touch of spring and lighter fare in my kitchen comes from this nutritious whole wheat pasta salad. Working well as a light side dish for lunch or an afternoon snack, a tasty pasta salad is also a good thing to have in your collection of dishes for your first cook out or BBQ of the season.
Made with whole grain pasta, my spring fresh and summer ready pasta salad includes a variety of flavorful, fresh ingredients like diced tomatoes, green onions, tangy black olives, and a homemade vinaigrette of extra-virgin olive oil, white whine vinegar and Dijon mustard. Easy to make in all of about 30 minutes, you can eat it warm, but it gets that cool and refreshing taste of a salad once you refrigerate it or allow it to come to room temperature. Enjoy!
Spring Fresh, Summer Ready Pasta Salad
3 cups whole wheat corkscrew (rotelle) pasta
1/2 tablespoon salt
2 small ripe tomatoes seeded, peeled and diced
2 scallions (green onions) thinly sliced (green parts only)
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup diced red onions
1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup quality white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
Pinch of salt
Fill a large pot with water, add 1/2 tablespoon salt, and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook uncovered until pasta is tender. Drain pasta and set aside in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, add white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey and dried thyme. Then slowly drizzle in the extra-virgin olive oil while quickly whisking all dressing ingredients together. Season dressing with a pinch of salt and taste to adjust flavor as needed.
Add olives, green onions, red onions and tomatoes to your bowl of pasta and add in dressing (you may not need to use all of it). Stir all together and mix well. Season pasta salad with salt, pepper and lemon zest to taste. Set aside or refrigerate to cool completely before serving.